Motor Coach Industries (MCI) unveiled improvements to the J4500 coach. The 2018 model features more legroom and a comfortable 60-seat capacity. New standard touches include indirect LED ceiling lights, puck-style spotlights, and entryway illumination.
A reconfigured lavatory and air-intake system produced 20 inches of new floor space, which allowed for best-in-class legroom and an optional, rear window — the first ever on an MCI coach. The reconfigured design also allowed for mechanical advantages, such as improved engine air filtration and easier maintenance. The new Optair hybrid filter system from Cummins includes a standard centrifugal pre-cleaner to remove dust and water, defining a new frontier in engine air intake cleanliness.
“We wanted to improve the revenue- generating cabin space by increasing the usable floor space and seating capacity with an upgraded interior for greater passenger appeal,” said Brent Maitland, MCI VP, marketing and product planning.
MCI worked with longtime partner BMW Designworks to upgrade seating, trim, and lighting to create striking product differentiation for tour and charter operators. Upgraded handrails on the 2018 J4500’s entryway minimize wear, and new parcel racks with easy-to-lock doors have finishes that resist scratches smudges, and abrasions. The parcel racks now integrate with the front interior cap for a cleaner look. The windshield blinds now recess into the front cap, creating a panoramic view for passengers.
The driver cockpit features a completely new, integrated instrument panel that reduces driver distraction and provides easier-to-read gauges at all hours of the day. The high-definition, 12-inch Thin-Film-Transistor (TFT) LCD instrument panel provides increased visibility for many key systems, including tire pressure status and engine DPF regeneration notices. This redefined space includes a slimmer left-side console with improved switches, a flexible cup holder, and a place for a cell phone or personal items, and offers better visibility over the dash hood, increased driver legroom, and a toe kick.
The spiral entryway offers enhanced visibility with right-and-left entryway white lighting. MCI has also provided a high-spec option of variable (RGB) LED lighting for customizable color choices to light up the stairwell and the right- and left-hand grab rails, and extends the lighting options all the way to the end of the cabin. The new variable lighting system allows operators to choose between colors, including red, green, blue, yellow, magenta, cyan, and white lighting with full dimming and programmable customized colors to suit an operator’s or their customer’s branding needs. A super-bright “clean” setting illuminates every interior inch of the coach for spotless cleanup between trips.
“Many customers have told us that customization is key to showcase their brand or corporate, sports and other specialized client groups,” said Maitland.
The ability to adjust lighting is just one part of a more customized environment. MCI created three trim packages for the 2018 J4500 — Preferred-Spec, High-Spec, and Custom-Spec — to give operators more choices. Coordinated seating and interior color schemes in “Blues,” “Lounge,” and “Tech” in both Preferred/High Spec packages fit nicely with trim, parcel rack doors, and flooring available in woodgrain and carbon fiber selections. Customers may also continue to select MCI-approved seat models, fabric, and flooring outside of the new interior color theme and Preferred/High-Spec packages. New standalone options include an entryway LED “puddle light” with customizable logo and a tempered glass roof hatch.
Peter Picknelly, chairman/CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, went for the space. The Springfield, Mass.-based operator runs an MCI-exclusive fleet of 250 motor coaches throughout the Northeast and the 2018 J4500 will allow Peter Pan to move from a 54- to 56-passenger-seating configuration.
MCI will showcase the 2018 MCI J4500 during its Reliability Rallies throughout the U.S. and Canada this summer and fall at MCI Sales and Service Centers. These one-day events feature test drives of the new J4500 and Setra models, special promotions on pre-owned coaches and parts, supplier partner educational sessions as well as food, fun and prizes. Upcoming Reliability Rallies will be held:
- July 13, Blackwood, N.J.;
- July 25, Winter Garden, Fla.;
- August 3, Des Plaines, Ill.;
- September 7, Dallas;
- September 21, Los Alamitos, Calif.;
- October 19, (at Big Rig Collision), Calgary, AB; and,
- November 14, Hayward, Calif., MCI’s newest Sales and Service Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.
MCI will make a number of demo coaches available to its sales representative team, and more information about the 2018 MCI J4500 is available at http://www.j4500-enlightened.com/